Around the World in 31 Days of HorrorCanada’s film industry has long been overshadowed by our neighbour, the good ole U.S. of A. But that doesn’t mean that Canada hasn’t made some excellent films.

Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies for example. But where Canada really shines is in the low-budget horror genre. Master filmmaker David Cronenberg got his start making some the more nastier horror movies ever put on screen. Rabid, Shivers, The Brood and of course The Fly helped launch Cronenberg’s career. There have been many more excellent horror films such as Cube, Ginger Snaps, Pontypool and The Changeling. More than a couple of them I’ve featured on previous 31 Days of Horror.

Black ChristmasBut today’s movie is special. It’s the movie that kickstarted the slasher genre. 1974’s Black Christmas, directed by Bob Clark, was one of the first slasher films, preceding Halloween and Friday the 13th.

The story is set near Christmas and a group of sorority girls are getting ready to leave the sorority house for the holidays. The girls have been getting obscene phone calls lately and with the latest drunken sorority girl Margot Kidder manages to antagonize the caller into threatening her. Soon people start going missing, one by one. And the calls keep coming. Later the main girl, Olivia Hussey, gets the police to tap the phone line only to discover a shocking truth.

The movie is well made despite it’s low budget ($620, 000). And it’s scary. Clark builds the tension and keeps things about the killer nice and ambiguous. It’s a film that’s earned it’s reputation and it’s proudly Canadian. Plus there’s something about Christmas horror movies that fascinate and amuse me.